We all saw it coming and now it’s happening — New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg is going to announce an official ban on styrofoam containers in his State of the City address today. Just to clarify once again, uppercase Styrofam is a trademarked product used in insulation, while what we all know as styrofoam is really extruded polystyrene. Moving on!
The ban on styrofoam is part of a larger program the mayor has planned for his last year in office, which will also include more recycling, a curbside food-composting pilot program and more electric vehicles cruising the city streets.
His office released a few portions of his speech ahead of time where it’s clear his focus is on improving the city’s environment. This, after pushing through initiatives like a ban on large, sugary drinks to improve the public health.
There will be a new requirement for 20% of all new public parking spaces to include spots to charge electric vehicles, reports Bloomberg News, which would mean 10,000 new spots in the next seven years after the City Council approves it.
And for those residents who are sick of having a large plastic bin full of food waste in their refrigerator that their roommate hasn’t hauled to the compost drop-off spot in months (ahem), a new program to begin collecting compost would kick off in State Island and go citywide if it works out.
And then there’s the styrofoam, that ubiquitous white substances that cradles hot deli delights and cups full of street cart coffee alike.
“One product that is virtually impossible to recycle and never bio-degrades is styrofoam,” Bloomberg is planning on saying. “Something that we know is environmentally destructive and that may be hazardous to our health, that is costing taxpayers money and that we can easily do without, and is something that should go the way of lead paint.”
That plastic foam makes up about 20,000 tons of the city’s waste each year, said the mayor’s office. A ban would need to be approved by the City Council and if it goes through, will join similar actions taken in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Portland and Seattle. Things are getting very West Coast around here, eh?
In addition, Bloomberg wants to double the city’s recycling rate to 30% by 2017 by doubling the 2,000 containers that the public uses to sort its waste. A new recycling plant will also open in Brooklyn to accept plastic that wasn’t able to be recycled before like salad containers and yogurt cups.
It remains to be seen how restaurants and other food establishments will take the styrofoam ban, but if it costs more to use more environmentally-friendly containers, we’re sure it won’t be a pleasant reaction.
Bloomberg to Push for Plastic-Foam Ban in ‘State of City’ [Bloomberg News]